Friday, April 15, 2005
Parcels of farmland in this area are being restored to native prairies. Volunteers harvest seed in the fall and plant new prairies in the spring. The established prairies are burned every other year. These controlled burns helps to remove the dry grasses and stimulate new growth. The one I photographed today was done by a company that contracts their services to towns across the U.S. This particular type of prairie burn is called a flank burn. Instead of setting a wide fire line, these men ignited the grasses at intervals. The grass burns outwards and the result is there are small patches left untouched. These patches serves as shelter for birds and small wildlife until the new growth appears. The workman is not attempting to extinguish the fire, but to simply control the outer edges, preventing it from spreading towards the nearby farm. The burnt ground looks like a wasteland, but in a little over a month, this will be green and lush.